“Earth Day grew out of a period in our history when rivers were on fire, when you couldn’t see across the street because of smog, and when we started to notice environmentally related birth defects. These were the signs of 150 years of industrialization going south, and the problems were obvious.
Look, changing a light bulb might sound silly, but think back to World War II, when everyone became a cog in the wheel and played their part. Women worked in tire factories. People bought war bonds. It was millions of people doing the right thing. And that’s what needs to happen now, because this is a war — a war against flagrant abuse of resources, a war against greenhouse gases. Everyone needs to play a part.”
– Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network
Friday is Earth Day and with this one day a year it seems perfectly reasonable to take a moment to observe our own behavior good/bad and try to make better decisions for the health of ourselves and our planet. It’s not hard to make simple choices like turning out the lights when you leave a room, recycling as much as you can and buying less “stuff” you don’t really need. But there is also so much more you can do to make a lasting impact. I can’t think of a more important cause that we can all stand behind than the care of our planet. After all, as far as we know, it’s the only one we’ve got!
I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve noticed a real lack of civic pride here in San Francisco. I don’t understand this and to be quite frank it really angers me because we live in such a beautiful little city. I often find myself saying “WHAT’S WITH ALL THE TRASH!” There is so much trash on the streets, in parks, on playgrounds and what doesn’t make it’s way to the trash bin will undoubtedly find its way into the bay. I find this incredibly unsettling and while we can’t force people to be more conscientious and make the effort to throw trash in a bin were it belongs, we can make a difference by simply picking up trash when we can. It’s really not that hard to stop and pick up a few things while walking your dog, when you’re at the park or beach or when you’re just out and about with your daily activities. I do it and while it’s not my favorite activity, it makes me feel good to know that there’s a little less trash out there because of me.
Another thing that makes me feel good is just being outdoors, enjoying the fresh air. You can join a community garden or plant your own! Grow fresh vegetables and meet your neighbors at the same time! Community gardens are as much about beautifying and preserving the land as they are about strengthening local networks. Plus, it’s a great way to learn something new from the Earth, our natural classroom. Get your hands dirty in your own back yard and marvel at the small miracle that is planting a seed, nurturing it and watching it grow into something edible or just beautiful. It’s a natural stress reliever and it helps you gain perspective and respect for the origin of food. Gardening is great for all ages and it’s something to get your kids involved in too!
As the ancient philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The march of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Earth Day is the day when each of us can stop and say, “OK, everything I do impacts the planet, and while I can’t do much, I’m going to do at least one thing each day.” Their are lots of small things you can do that collectively can make a positive impact. If you can walk or take public transit to work, what’s stopping you? Why not ride your bike, just for fun? Shop locally, buy organic whenever you can and yes turn off those lights! Finally, just get outside, go for a walk and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us. Know that you can do something, no matter how small, to help preserve our Earth.
Happy Earth Day!